“A minnie ball passes through my Bible.”

a few months ago

Time for another tale of Private Sam Watkins. General Bragg ordered Sam’s First Tennessee Regiment to rearguard duty.  It was not much fun: “You don’t move more than ten feet at furthest before you have to halt…. You haven’t time to sit down a moment before you are ordered to move on again.  And the […]

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“Friendly” Enemies: “Tex” and “Fanny”

a few months ago

There were many Confederate officers who went on to serve in the U.S. Army after the Civil War. One such officer was Thomas Rosser, a very successful cavalry commander. Thomas Rosser and George Custer had been roommates at West Point. Custer called Rosser “Tex,” and Custer was “Fanny.”  (Custer’s long, blond hair also earned him […]

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The “Rebel Monster” and the Battle of the Ironclads

a few months ago

In school we learned about the Monitor and the Merrimac. But the Merrimac was not its name when it battled the Monitor. It was actually Confederate Ship Virginia, and was never defeated in battle. Its Union nickname was “Rebel Monster.” Virginia did start her life as the wood-hulled Merrimak (yes, with a k, historians misspelled […]

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Old Ironsides in Battle

a few months ago

The day was overcast, winds blowing hard as the Warships neared each other. The War of 1812 between Britain and America had just begun.  The USS Constitution and the HMS Guerriere were now enemies.  Captain Hull was in command of the Constitution, and we have his report. “The Gallant crew gave three cheers” when Hull […]

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“I will fire a shot into you”

a few months ago

The world’s oldest ship still in commission is the USS Constitution, launched in 1797. Paul Revere forged her copper spikes and bolts, as well as the copper sheathing on the underwater part of the hull. One of her early captains was Commodore Edward Preble. He fought in the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), and was […]

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“A Minnie Ball Passes Through My Bible”

a few months ago

Time for another tale from Civil War author and humorist Private Sam Watkins of the 1st Tennessee Regiment. Here’s how he lived to fight another day. Sam was on guard duty after a battle. It was never much fun. He writes: “You don’t move more than ten feet at furthest before you have to halt…. […]

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“It was not war, it was murder.”

a few months ago

Robert E. Lee is famous as a battlefield commander, but the Civil War had been raging for over a year before he led men in battle. Here is how it happened. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were classmates at West Point, and they distinguished themselves during the Mexican-American War (1846). In 1861, they resigned from […]

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“The Yankees were swarming everywhere”

a few months ago

The last time I wrote about Sam Watkins, he got a Minnie ball through his new hat. That’s Sam in the photo above, but definitely not the same hat. (Sam was in Company H, First Tennessee Infantry). Well, it seems the next day he was on picket duty on top of Missionary Ridge. That’s part of […]

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Yankees Were Swarming Everywhere

a few months ago

Private Sam Watkins was on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, on top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sam watched a night battle at the base of the mountain: “It looked like lightning bugs on a dark night.”   Sam, Theodore Sloan and Hog Johnson were in an old log cabin, no sleep for two […]

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Secession in New York

a few months ago

The story goes that in 1861 the hamlet of Town Line decided to secede from the Union, by a vote of 85 to 40. It wasn’t until 1946 that another vote was held about rejoining the United States. This time there were 90 votes to rejoin the Union. But 23 Rebels were still holding out […]

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